Pfizer's Belgian site will produce the Covid-19 vaccine


The Puurs site, in the province of Antwerp, is one of the two sites of the pharmaceutical group Pfizer selected to produce the vaccine against Covid-19 which is currently under development, and which has recently been announced as being 90% effective.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 10 clinical trials for vaccines are currently in phase 3 around the world, including trials by the American biotech company Moderna, several Chinese laboratories and the British company AstraZeneca, in collaboration with Oxford University.

Pfizer (USA) and BioNTech (Germany) were the first to announce interim results from these 'phase 3' trials, confirming 90% efficacy. Phase 3 is the final phase before a drug can be approved, and in the case of an RNA-type vaccine it would be the first approval for this type of vaccine for humans.

The advantage of this vaccine based on messenger RNA is that no pathogen has to be cultivated in the laboratory, and therefore no cells are needed to develop it, which significantly shortens the time required for manufacturing it. This new technology consists of injecting the body with strands of genetic instructions called messenger RNA (an organic molecule that makes it possible to create proteins). In the case of this vaccine, it enters and takes control of our cells to create a coronavirus antigen.

One drawback is that the vaccine needs to be stored at very low temperatures, which will require special logistics for both storage and use.

The vaccine, which is still awaiting approval by the health authorities, is already being produced at Puurs in Belgium and at Pfizer's US site in Michigan.

A glimmer of hope in the fight against the coronavirus.